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“You Can’t Help Who You Love”- is that all there is to it? - Part 3

In part 1 and 2 of this series we have been examining this common expression and asking ourselves, is this really all there is to it? If we simply love who we love, should we then just let our feelings guide our relationship choices? This led us to ask the question, what is love?

In part 1, we addressed the question - is love a feeling? We concluded that while love indeed includes feelings, there is more to a long term committed relationship than fluctuating feelings can provide.

In part 2, we addressed the question - is passion the foundation of love? Here we identified that passion can be displayed in different forms - Harmonious and Obsessive. Obsessive passion is characterized by a lack of self-control and therefore can actually lead to very unloving and harmful behaviours. Love differs from passion in that it includes identifying what is best for the other person, not just gratifying one’s own passion.

This brings us to the element of choice. Choice is formed in an entirely different part of our brain than our feelings and passions. While love includes feelings and passion, it has the ability to transcend both with the power of choice. When two people make love a choice, then you have something far more powerful than the words, “You can’t help who you love,” is able to hold.

Love is a gift we offer, and when that gift is faithfully reciprocated then the choice to love can be founded on something we know exists between us,

even when we don’t feel it.

In conclusion, know that each of us can determine what kind of love we are seeking, and willing to give. Here are some reflective questions:

  • Is the love we offer and the love we are receiving based on a reciprocated gift that rises above fluctuating feelings and self-seeking passions?

  • Does it include considering what is in the best interest of the other?

By answering these questions, we can find the power to choose the kind of relationship we want to build. A giving relationship built on trust, respect, and open communication is worth the wait, and the effort.

Next article...does love have boundaries? If so, how can I communicate them to those I love without creating barriers in our relationship?

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